A few tips when working on your trucks......

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by 75, Apr 30, 2001.

  1. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Just a few "basic" things that come to mind when working on your trucks - some of which I learned the hard way! :(

    Sometimes welding isn't the best way! - bumpers and plow mounts are two good examples. It's tempting to just weld them on there, but if you ever want to remove it you'll be cursing! And, it's no fun trying to crawl under your truck & weld vertical & overhead. (I know, I was cursing me for welding my bumper on the last time I did body/paint on my truck) Good quality bolts (I like to use Grade 8) are the best way to attach things, I also prefer steel self-locking nuts over lockwashers or nylon insert self-locking nuts.

    When welding on your truck, disconnect that battery! Especially with all the computing power built into modern trucks - 'puters and welding current don't get along.

    Make sure your truck is parked on a level surface before you start measuring & building, and never assume that everything on the truck is square/level/symmetrical. From normal wear & tear and use, the body & suspension move around & settle into position, and every vehicle is a little different. Even brand-new ones can be slightly off - that's why fender shims were invented! Whatever it is you are making, build it to suit the truck - generally, this involves tack-welding the components together on-board, then taking the assembly off for welding - and make sure you step back & take a good look from different angles before you "commit".

    When doing your tacking/welding on board the truck, keep your ground clamp on your workpiece if at all possible - by this I mean if you are building a rear bumper, put the ground clamp on that bumper. The welding current has to flow in a continuous path from the machine, through the electrode, through the pieces being joined, and back out to the machine via the ground cable. Since electricity always takes the path of least resistance, if the ground clamp was at the front of the truck and you are welding at the back, that electricity might decide it's easier to run along the copper in the wiring harness. These wires are too light to carry welding current, so the result is a mess! :eek: I have seen this happen - I can honestly say it wasn't me but it WAS one of my co-workers. We smelled burning wire & wondered what was going on.

    Cover up that paint & glass! - when welding or grinding, remember that each spark is a tiny piece of molten metal. Think what that will do to your paint/wax! Glass is even worse, when a spark hits the glass it melts a tiny pit and there is nothing you can do once it's happened. If the window was "got" badly, it will eventually show rust stains. Replacement of the glass is the only solution once it gets burnt. So keep things covered up - even if you are grinding at the back of the truck, it's possible to spark your mirror - this is one I HAVE done. :(

    Hopefully, this can help prevent someone else from making the same mistake(s)!
  2. Highpoint

    Highpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    I love my welder. One more thing you might mention. When welding on your truck or trailer, removed the gas cans!!! or anything with a gas tank that is even remotely close to the area you are working. You may end up with a BIG black eye! lol
  3. jason2

    jason2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    You mentioned the pitting of glass. I'm sitting here looking at my computer screen through a pitted eyeglass lens.

    I know I should use goggles or a shield when using the trusty 'ol torch, but I'm usually in a hurry or too lazy. Result: Severly pitted lens on my eyeglasses. At least I was wearing glasses, my cornea could be pitted. Plus darkened goggles are definitely a plus, need to start using them. :) Hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
  4. Larrytow

    Larrytow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Hi All; Glad this fourm is up and being used. Here are a few random tips from my own experience: When doing a lot of welding at one time, like final welding on a large project, be sure to take into account the heat build up in the parts. Things can and will warp out of shape if you do too much too fast. One way to deal with this is to weld one end a bit then go do some on another area while the first cools down. If you just start at one end and do the whole works, you can wind up with a carefully laid out project that is so out of shape its hard to belive.

    In the summer when its hot, resist the temptation to weld in only a T shirt. If you do a lot of welding that way, you can land up with severe sunburn ( weldburn ) on your arms and neck. Use a leather cape or long sleeve shirt. And NOT a shirt with more than 50% polyester! Any more than that and a spark will melt the shirt onto your skin---- UGLY!!

    Eye protection: clear saftey glasses for grinding. Shade 5 for cutting and gas welding. Shade 10 for any arc welding. You only get one pair of eyes; when you wreck them, they are gone for the rest of your life. And eye dammage is cumulative; the more times you get flashed ( or cut without #5 on ) the worse they get. You just dont realize it right away.

    Auto dark helmets are the best tool to have for vehicular welding jobs! They make working in and around truck frames and bodies so much easier. And your not going to flash yourself or konk your head so often.

    Just my opinion, Regards, Larry
  5. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Good suggestions everybody - keep them coming!

    Here's one other thing I like to use - a metal can to drop my welding electrode "stubbys" in. An empty 1-gallon paint can works well, so does a galvanized pail. There are several reasons why I do this: It makes clean-up a lot easier, it keeps you from kneeling/sitting/putting your hand on the red-hot stubby you just tossed aside (been there! :eek: ) and if you are working outside, it can really save you money on tires:

    On more than one occasion I have seen some of my co-workers welding away on a project out in our (dirt) lot with electrode stubbys all over the place. Since I plow the lot there, my language :mad: on these occasions would be sufficient to get me banned from the forum should I repeat my words here - let's just say I make it known I am NOT impressed!

    Customers seem to like seeing the stubby can in use too.


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